Skip to main content

Full text of "Care and Maintenance of Common Household and Office Plants"

See other formats


c* I .1/ S* • & 



THE GREEN SCENE 

A PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE 







CARE AND MAINTENANCE 
OF COMMON HOUSEHOLD 
AND OFFICE PLANTS 




I NTRODUCTION TO THE GREEN SCENE 



Numerous requests and questions about plant life from Washington area res- 
idents contributed to the creation of THE GREEN SCENE, a broad-based 
program designed to stimulate interest in and expand the awareness of the 
environment through gardening. Employing park lands as focal points, the 
program brings together National Park Service plant experts and gardeners, 
elementary school children, downtown shoppers, business men and women 
for a variety of denominations, workshops, and question and answer ses- 
sions. 

In the fall of 1972, a GREEN SCENE plant extension service was established 
to operate as a diagnostic center where Washington residents can call or 
bring their plants which show signs of disease or improper growth and where 
they can receive prescribed remedies. 

This booklet, in its second printing, is an outgrowth of THE GREEN SCENE 
services. It has been expanded to include twenty-four common house and 
office plants with advice on their general and specific care, as well as infor- 
mation on how to bring forth additional plants. 

THE GREEN SCENE holds plant demonstration workshops weekly in down- 
town parks throughout the summer months in conjunction with the Summer 
in the Parks program. Gardeners are invited to bring their plants and ques- 
tions to the parks or to call THE GREEN SCENE at 282-7080. 



. ,. . ... . . ,. National Capital Parks 

Authored & Illustrated by NatJona| £ Servjce 

Franziska Hecht ..o ^ * * <■ * • 

.. . A , U.S. Department of Interior 

Mary L. Anderson ... r u . . ~ ~ Hn , 

' Washington, D.C. 1973 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 

Washington, D.C. 20402 Price $1.20 

Stock Number 024-006-00586-6 





National Capital Parks 
National Park Service 

U.S. Department of Interior 

Washington, D.C., 1973 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Introduction 1 

GREEN THUMB TIPS 5 

How to Buy a Plant 6 

Location 7 

Grooming and Tools 9 

Pots, Trays, and Saucers 10 

Potting 11 

Soil 12 

Watering 13 

Humidity 14 

Fertilizing 15 

PLANTS 17 

African Violet 18 

(False) Aralia 20 

Asparagus Fern 22 

Avocado 24 

Boston Fern 26 

Chinese Evergreen 28 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



PLANTS 



Dracaena "Warneckei" 30 
Dracaena marginata 
Dracaena sanderiana 

Dumb Cane 32 

Gardenia 34 

Grape Ivy 36 

Jade Plant 38 

Norfolk Island Pine 40 

Parlor Palm 42 

Philodendron oxycardium 44 

Windowleaf Philodrendron 46 

Purple Passion Plant 48 

Rubber Tree Plant 50 

Schefflera actinophylla 52 

Snake Plant 54 

Spider Plant 56 

Wandering Jew 58 

Zebra Plant 60 




N THUMB 
TIPS 



HOW TO BUY A PLANT 



RULE OF THUMB: BE CHOOSEY WHEN YOU BUY PLANTS. 

Look for plants that are healthy and insect free. It is best to avoid plants 
showing any of the following tell tale signs: spindly growth, yellowing leaves, 
unnatural blotches, speckles, wilted or artificially waxed leaves. When you 
check for signs of insects, look on the underside of foliage and in the joints of 
the leaves, stems and branches. If possible, buy plants during their growth 
season. Look for signs of leaf buds on foliage plants and flower buds on 
blooming ones. 




UK- 



SHADOW TEST 




LOCATION 

RULE OF THUMB: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLANT FOR THE 
GROWING CONDITIONS YOU HAVE TO OFFER. 

Particularly note the light and temperature your plant will receive. When you 
choose plants for your home or office, know what conditions you have and 
what plants will do well in that environment. 

Light is the factor over which you have the least control. To determine the 
amount of light you have, use the shadow test. Hold a piece of paper up to the 
light and note the shadow it makes. A sharp shadow means that you have 
bright or good light, and a barely visible shadow means dim light. 

If directions for your plant note direct or full sun, that means your plant will 
need sun for at least half of the daylight hours. Indirect or partial sun indi- 
cates that the sun light should be filtered through a curtain. Bright light 
means no direct sun light but that the room should be bright and well lighted. 
Shade loving plants should be kept in a well shaded part of your room. 

Temperature is a very important factor when dealing with plants. Most plants 
do not like sudden changes in temperature. Generally speaking plants 
do not want a temperature variable of more than a few degrees. Average 
household temperatures range between 60 and 75 degrees during the winter 
months. 

House plants are usually grouped in three temperature categories, cool, 
moderate, and warm. Cool temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees and 
should not go below 45 degrees. Moderate temperatures are from 60 to 70 
degrees and should not be below 50 degrees. Warm temperatures range from 
70 to 80 degrees and should not go below 60 degrees. 




PINCHING 







GROOMING AND TOOLS 

RULE OF THUMB: ESTABLISH A REGULAR WEEKLY OR 
MONTHLY ROUTINE FOR PLANT CARE. A GROOMED PLANT 
IS A HEALTHY PLANT. 

Remove all wilted or withering leaves, stems and flowers with a sharp scis- 
sors or knife. This is a good time to look at how the plant is growing. If it is 
getting leggy, pinch out new growth. This will force the plant to branch out 
and form a more compact shape. 

When staking your plants do it early in their.development. It is easier to keep 
the stem straight than to straighten a crooked one. Some plants need sup- 
port for heavy flower heads or dense growth at the top of the stem. Thin 
bamboo stakes are useful and twistums or the paper coated wire found in 
boxes of plastic bags are excellent for staking and tying the plant. Climbing 
and trailing plants such as philodendron need to have a piece of bark or to- 
tem pole for climbing. 

Once the plant has been groomed, place the pot in the sink and gently wash 
the leaves to remove dust and insects. Using a fork for a cultivator, loosen the 
surface soil in the pot. 

Useful tools to have on hand for your indoor gardening are a trowel or large 
spoon and fork for working the soil. You will need pruning shears, a pair of 
sharp scissors or a sharp knife to cut off dead leaves and stems and do the 
pruning and grooming your plant requires. A watering can with a long thin 
spout is best for watering. However, you can use a pitcher or even a recycled 
bottle. A daily misting is beneficial to most plants as they thrive in a humid 
environment. Note there are exceptions such as cactus and African Violets. 
Convert an old cleaned out spray bottle into a mister. 



568-80<) O - 75 



POTS, TRAYS AND SAUCERS 

RULE OF THUMB: USE POTS WITH DRAINAGE HOLES. 

The unglazed clay pot exchanges the air in the soil readily. The clay evapo- 
rates the moisture through the walls of the pot and it is less likely to become 
water logged. In summer these pots dry out in the heat and breezy weather 
and must be watered more frequently. 

Plastic pots require less frequent watering because the moisture evaporates 
from the soil surface only. It is important to provide a plant in this type of pot 
with well drained soil and a layer of drainage material in the bottom of the 
pot. The soil will get water logged from too frequent watering and the plant 
will suffer. 

Decorative glazed pots can be used for planting if there are drainage holes in 
the bottom and the plant has well drained soil. If you have a favorite pot that 
does not provide adequate drainage there are several ways to make it a usa- 
ble planter. It may be adviseable to fit a properly drained container inside 
your pot. It might be possible to drill a hole in the bottom. If these sugges- 
tions will not work then place a thick layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the 
pot and then set the plant. Be very careful not to over water. 

To protect your window sill or table, place pots in trays or saucers. These are 
available in plastic, rubber, glazed or unglazed clay. The unglazed clay must 
be waterproofed with a sheet of plastic or painted with waterproof paint. 

Preparing your pot for use is an important step. New clay pots should be 
soaked in clear water overnight. This allows the moisture to saturate the pot. 
A used clay pot should soaked in amonia or bleach and then throughly 
scrubbed with a stiff brush. It must be soaked in clear water to flush the toxic 
materials from the clay. Plastic pots should be scrubbed with a strong soap 
to kill any harmful insects or fungi. 



10 



POTTING 

RULE OF THUMB: THE DIAMETER OF THE POT GENERALLY 
SHOULD BE ONE THIRD THE HEIGHT OF THE PLANT. 

Cover the drainage hole with a pebble or piece of broken pot to allow water 
to seep out but to keep the soil in place. Add a layer of gravel, crushed brick, 
or bits of broken clay pots for additional drainage. This is particularly impor- 
tant when you are using plastic pots. Cover the drainage material with a layer 
of soil. The depth of the layer will be determined by the size of the plant's root 
ball. The plant should sit in the pot so that when the pot is filled with soil the 
level is one inch below the rim. Set the plant gently but firmly in the pot and 
work the soil down into the roots. A sharp rap or two on the work surface will 
help to settle the soil. Do this a couple of times as you fill the pot with soil. 
Soak the freshly potted plant in water until soil is thoroughly moist- 
ened. 

Occasionally plants may out-grow their pots. In general, repotting is done in 
the spring or the fall. Flowering plants are best repotted after the flowers 
have faded. As you prepare the plant for repotting, take a careful look at the 
roots. Check for insects, signs of root damage such as root rot. Remove any- 
thing that looks or feels unhealthy. There are some plants that are happy 
being pot-bound and some that do not bloom unless they are. Be sure to 
check a plant book for the likes and dislikes of your specific plant. 




£> 



11 



SOILS 

RULE OF THUMB: CONSULT SECTION TWO OF THE GREEN 
SCENE BOOK FOR THE CORRECT SOIL MIXTURE FOR YOUR 
PLANTS. 

There are several readily available ingredients that are fairly common to all 
soil mixtures. However, the proportions used and those to include and leave 
out differ from plant to plant. These ingredients and their functions are: 

PEAT MOSS This provides rich organic content for the soil. It also helps to 
prevent the soil from packing into a hard mass around the roots. Peat moss 
retains moisture and will prevent the soil mixture from drying out. 

POTTING SOIL OR GARDEN LOAM This is the dense, black soil available in 
variety and plant stores. Used alone it is too rich, dense and heavy for most 
plants but provides body and nutrients for many plant varieties. 

COARSE SAND, PERLITE OR VERMICULITE Any of these organic materials 
will loosen your soil mixture so that air and water are readily available to the 
roots. Coarse sand is prefered by some people especially in mixtures for cacti 
and succulents. Perlite, a white volcanic substance will not pack or soak up 
moisture but it keeps the soil porous. Vermiculite, an expanded mica, does 
soak up and retain moisture. 

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL AND BONE MEAL These are extra ingredients 
and are not mandatory in a soil mixture. They help in keeping the soil fresh 
and promote root growth. 

If obtained, pre-packaged, in a plant or variety store, the above ingredients 
have the advantage of being sterilized. This will insure that there will be no 
harmful fungii or pests in the soil. If you wish to sterilize your own soil, place 
it in a shallow baking pan and add one cup of water for each gallon of soil. 
Bake it in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. The soil must be cooled for 
at least 24 hours before using. 



12 



WATERING 

RULE OF THUMB: DO NOT WATER TOO MUCH. MORE 
PLANTS DIE OF OVER WATERING THAN FROM ANY OTHER 
CAUSE. 

Always water your plants in the morning with room temperature water. Plants 
take in moisture and minerals which are most useful in combination with 
light energy. Know the needs of your plant and its environmental conditions. 
Factors such as humidity, sun light, seasonal variations and type of pot used 
must influence your decision concerning the amount of the water to give 
your plant. Here are some basic guide lines. When the plant is growing 
new leaves or producing flowers, it needs more water than during it's resting 
period. A cool environment requires less water than a hot dry one. Plants with 
hairy, thorny or waxy leaves need less water than the thin leaved varieties. 
Plants are specially adapted to meet specific needs. Inform yourself of the 
needs and adaptations of your individual plants. 

There are several ways of watering your plants. The basic thing to remember 
about watering is to wet the soil in the pot until the excess drains off. One way 
of being sure the soil is thoroughly wet is to soak the pot in a bucket of tepid 
water for half an hour, remove the pot and drain. If you prefer to water from 
the top pour the water slowly on to the soil, fill the pot up to the top with wa- 
ter and allow it to absorb it until excess drains from the hole in the bottom. 

All pots should have a layer of drainage material in the bottom to keep the 
plant from getting root rot from soggy soil. The plastic pot does not allow the 
moisture to evaporate through the walls; do not be too generous. This can 
result in too much water which cloggs the soil and cuts down on the supply 
of air to the roots. There is the danger that the water does not penetrate the 
root ball, particularly after repotting. Use a knitting needle or other sharp 
implement to poke a few holes in the soil ball to channel the water to the 
roots. 



13 



HUMIDITY 

RULE OF THUMB: MOST PLANTS LIKE HIGH HUMIDITY AND 
WILL BENEFIT FROM A DAILY MISTING. THIS DOES NOT 
REPLACE WATERING. 

Creating a humid environment for your plants can be achieved in several 
ways. Locate the plants in the area of your house where the humidity is high, 
such as the bathroom. Placing a collection of plants in a glass baking dish 
filled with pebbles that are kept partially covered with water is helpful in mak- 
ing a more humid atmosphere around the plants. Cluster your plants togeth- 
er and they will benefit from the moisture each gives off. Misting the foliage 
daily is beneficial to practically all houseplants except African Violets, Cacti 
and some Succulents. There are several misters or plant foggers available at 
plant and variety stores but a recycled spray bottle works just as well. 




14 



FERTILIZING 

RULE OF THUMB: ESTABLISH A REGULAR ROUTINE FOR 
FEEDING YOUR PLANTS AND DO NOT FERTILIZE YOUR 
PLANTS WHEN THE SOIL IS DRY. 

A quick uptake of the fertilizer solution when the soil is dry causes burned 
roots and leaf edges. 

When plants are actively growing (usually between March and October), they 
should be fertilized every four to six weeks. Do not fertilize when the plant is 
not producing new buds and leaves because it is resting. 

Flowering plants will need more fertilizer. When the plant has set flower 
buds, fertilize every two weeks while the plant is in bloom. After the flowers 
have faded, remove the flower stalks and stop feeding the plant for a month 
to six weeks. This will give the plant a chance to rest. 

There are a variety of plant foods available at plant and garden supply stores 
and variety stores. Fish mulsion is a safe organic plant food that most plants 
respond well to. If you prefer to use a chemical fertilizer follow the directions 
exactly. It is better to feed too little than too much. Too rich a diet can surely 
kill your plant. 



15 



NOTES: 



16 



PLANTS 




17 



568-R 



AFR I CAN VIOLET 



The African violet, a longtime favorite house- 
plant, does insist on more care and attention, but 
its beautiful blossoms make the effort worth- 
while. 

* 

TEMPERATURE 

African violets are more contented and grow best 
within a temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees. 
Be careful that your plants are not in an open win- 
dow or a draft. 




AFRICAN VIOLET 

Saintpaulia ionantha 



18 



LIGHT#SUN 

The African violet enjoys a place in an east or west window. Direct 
sun is too strong, unless filtered through a curtain. Excess sun 
will cause spotting and loss of color and too little light causes 
elongated stems and no blooms. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

African violets should be watered from the saucer underneath in 
the morning with lukewarm water. Water when the soil begins to 
dry out. Do not keep it "soggy". If the air is dry in your home, 
place the potted plant in a tray of moistened pebbles. 

SOIL 

The soil should be porous for good drainage and should contain 
ample organic matter such as compost or peat moss. Commercial 
African violet soil mixture is specially prepared for these plants, 
however, add sand or perlite to insure adequate drainage. A plas- 
tic pot is less likely to cause the lower leaves to rot where they 
touch the pot. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Leaf cuttings placed in water, sand or a commercial rooting medi- 
um will form roots in about two weeks. New plants will form in six 
weeks to three months depending on the variety. 



19 



(FALSE) ARALIA 



A plant of grace and elegance with narrow, ribbon-like, notched 
leaves of dark green, usually born on slender, single stems. The 
Aralia is attractive if two or three plants are planted together in 
one pot. It grows very quickly, so prune the stem tips from time 
to time to prevent the foliage from thinning at the bottom. 

TEMPERATURE 

The Aralia is tolerant of warm temperatures if there is plenty of 
humidity. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The plant likes a semi-sunny to semi-shady window, an east or 
west window is ideal. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Keep the soil damp but not soggy. The False Aralia likes a humid 
atmosphere. Place your plant on a pebble tray and mist the fol- 
liage daily. 

SOIL 

The soil should be equal parts loam, sand, and peat moss. 

SPECIAL CARE 

You can rejuvenate leggy plants by drastically cutting the stems 
back to four to six inches from the pot. Do this in the spring and 
leave the plant in a sheltered location, being sure to fertilize and 
water frequently. 



20 



FALSE ARALIA 

Dizygotheca elegantissima 




21 




ASPARAGUS FERN 

Asparagus sprengeri 



22 



ASPARAGUS FERN - EMERALD 
FEATHER 



The Bright feathery green of this delightful plant is best displayed in 
a hanging container. The long branches drape gracefully and are 
studded with tiny white flowers that ripen into red-orange berries. 

TEMPERATURE 

Asparagus Fern is not fussy about temperatures, but prefers a range 
of 60 degrees to 68 degrees. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The bright filtered sun of an east or west window is a good location 
for this plant. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Soak the soil in the pot thoroughly and allow it to become dry to the 
touch before re-watering. 

SOIL 

A well drained potting soil or a mixture of equal parts of loam, peat 
moss, sand or perlite. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Allow the berries to ripen and when dry sow the seeds they contain. 
Asparagus Fern can usually be grown from seed quite well. 



23 



AVOCADO 






The Avocado comes easily from seed and is grown for its ornamental foli- 
age. It makes a nice tree for your indoor garden. Allow the plant to reach 
the desired height and then begin regular pinching to force branching and 
encourage bushy growth. 




AVOCADO 

Persea amehcana 



24 



TEMPERATURE 

Temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees suit the Avocado well. 
LIGHT#SUN 

Keep your Avocado in bright light but protected from direct sun. Avocados 
are easily sunburned, specially when they are first moved outside. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Use tepid water and keep the soil moist. Place the plant on a pebble tray to 
raise the humidity level around it. This plant likes a fair amount of humidity 
and benefits from regular misting. Any signs of browning or crispness at the 
tips and along the edges of the leaves means the plant needs more humidity. 

SOIL 

Use a mixture consisting of equal parts of sand, loam and peat moss. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS FROM SEED 

There are two ways of starting the seed. You can germinate it in water. Plac- 
ing the pointed end up, stick three or four toothpicks around the middle of 
the seed to support it on the rim of the glass of water. Keep the water fresh. If 
you prefer to start the seed in soil, place it in a pot, pointed end up, allowing 
one third of the seed to stick out of the soil. Avocados come easily from seed 
but patience is important. Sometimes it takes two months for the seed to 
germinate. 



25 



BOSTON FERN 






Exaltant is a good adjective for this family of ferns that can fill a corner with 
rich green foliage. These ferns are excellent for hanging baskets. Initially 
the ferns may need a lot of attention until the right combination of environ- 
mental factors is achieved but the effort is well worth it. The leaflets grow 
on a midrib that is covered with fine brown hairs and vary from smooth- 
edged to feathery and even ruffled. A mature fern can have fronds ranging 
in length from two to three feet and two to three inches across. 







BOSTON FERN 

Nephrolepis exaltata 



26 



TEMPERATURE 

With lots and lots of humidity, ferns will do well in house temperatures in the 
60 to 70 degree range. 

LIGHT#SUN 

Ferns need a location with good bright light but this means filtered sun-light. 
Avoid direct sunlight. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

It is essential that the roots of the ferns never dry out at any time. Soak the 
soil regularly. Clay pots and hanging baskets can be soaked in a bucket or 
the sink for half an hour and then drained. The soil should be checked daily 
to make sure that it is not drying out. Humidity is the most important ingredi- 
ent to successful fern growing. Place pots of ferns on a pebble tray. Mist the 
foliage daily with room temperature water. 

SOIL 

Ferns need a soil that is loose and easily penetrated by their dense root sys- 
tem. The soil mixture should be rich in peat moss and organic matter with a 
liberal amount of sand for drainage. A sprinkling of charcoal mixed in the soil 
helps to keep the soil from becoming sour from the frequent waterings. 
When potting ferns place a layer of bits of broken pots or gravel in the bottom 
of the pot. Ferns do not take kindly to having their roots tampered with, so be 
careful not to damage them when repotting. 



27 




CHINESE EVERGREEN 

Aglanonema modestum 



28 



CHINESE EVERGREEN 



This beautiful foliage plant has waxy dark green leaves. The 
leaves grow on a cane like stem and are oblong, tapering to a 
thin tip. Some of the varieties are variegated with splashes of 
creamy white or yellow. Under optimal conditions, it will pro- 
duce a flower spike surrounded by a white spathe. The flower is 
similar to a calla filly. The great thing about this plant is that it 
will adapt to a variety of environments which makes it a good 
plant for a beginner or a difficult location. 

TEMPERATURE 

A range of 60 to 70 degrees suits this plant well. 

LIGHT#SUN 

A shady spot, an artificial light, or any other location will suit this 
plant. The Cinese Evergreen is an excellent plant for a north win- 
dow. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. To avoid water logged soil, al- 
low the surface soil to become dry to the touch before rewatering. 
The Chinese Evergreen can be grown in water. The roots are at- 
tractive so a clear glass container shows them off to best advan- 
tage. It is important to wash the leaves regularly to keep them 
dust free. 

SOIL 

The soil should be equal parts of garden loam, peat moss and 
sand. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

This plant has a tendency to get leggy. To start a new plant make 
a diagonal cut two inches below the foliage and root in water. 
Additional new plants can be started from two-inch lengths of 
stem set in moist sand or soil. 



29 




Dracaena marginata 



Dracaena deremensis "Warneckei' 



DRACAENAS 



There are several varieties of dracaenas which vary in foliage color, varie- 
gation and size. Here are three that are commonly available. 

Dracaena deremensis "Warneckei" is a good choice for a location without 
much light. The gray green foliage is striped with white and gray. 

Dracaena marginata has clusters of narrow deep green leaves edged with red 
and gray stems strongly marked with leaf scars. This variety will reach a 
height of five or six feet. 

Dracaena sanderiana resembles a corn plant in the brightness of the green 
and the size and shape of the leaves with the difference that the leaves are 
striped with white. 

TEMPERATURE 

Moderate household temperatures in the 60 to 70 degree range suit these 
plants best. It is important to keep plants away from heating vents. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The marginata and sanderiana should get only filtered sun or bright light. 
The Warneckei will fare well in a spot with very little light; it will flourish when 
more light is available. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

These plants all like soil that is kept evenly moist but not soggy. Soak the soil 
in the pot thoroughly and then rewater when the soil surface feels dry to the 
touch. Humidity is a must. Brown crispy leaf tips and margins mean too little 
moisture in the air. It is a good idea to place the dracaenas in pebble trays 
and mist the foliage daily. 

SOIL 

Commercial potting soil is adequate but added drainage material such as 
sand or perlite is advisable. 



31 




DUMB CANE 

Dieffenbachia maculata 



32 



DUMB CANE 



The cool looking foliage of this plant is yellow-green, mottled 
with white. The leaves are pointed ovals that become quite 
large as the plant matures. The dieffenbachia is known as the 
"mother-in-law" plant or the dumb cane because when a piece 
of the stem is placed on the tongue it causes temporary numb- 
ness and loss of speech. ALL JOKING ASIDE THIS PLANT IS 
POISONOUS. 

TEMPERATURE 

The dieffenbachia prefers warm temperatures and will tolerate 
hot dry places with added humidity. 

LIGHT#SUN 

This plant does well in an east or west window where it can bask 
in the sun for a few hours. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

The soil should be allowed to dry out for a few days before rewa- 
tering. The plants indicate a need for water when the leaves show 
signs of dropping. Regular misting keeps the foliage dust free 
and luxuriant. 

SOIL 

A porous soil of equal parts loam, peat moss, and sand is fine. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

If the plant is too tall and the stem is bare and unsightly, cut the 
top on a diagonal and root it in water. The old stem will probably 
sprout, so do not throw it out. 



33 



GARDENIA 



The gardenia is a handsome foliage plant with intensely fra- 
grant blooms, but it has an extremely temperamental nature. It 
is a challenging plant to grow successfully indoors. The most 
frequently available varieties are Gardenia radicans floraplena 
a low spreading plant with small double flowers, and Gardenia 
florida which blooms in summer. 




GARDENIA 

Gardenia radicans floraplena 



TEMPERATURE 

The temperature must be kept above 65 degrees to maintain healthy foliage 
and flower buds. These plants hate drafts. Loss of flower buds is often due 
to sudden changes in temperature. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The gardenia needs lots of light but avoid strong sun that might burn the 
leaves. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

The soil must be kept constantly moist without becoming soggy. Submerge 
the pot in a bucket of luke warm water and allow it to soak for half an hour or 
until the soil is moist on the surface. Do not allow the pot to sit in water as 
that will cause the roots to rot. Gardenias need very high humidity at all 
times. Place the pot in a tray of moistened pebbles. Mist the foliage daily with 
tepid water. Leaf or bud drops indicate the air is too dry. 

SOIL 

Potting soil should be a mixture of equal parts peat moss, loam and well de- 
cayed manure with sand or perlite added for drainage. 

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS 

The gardenia needs to have lots of pampering to encourage it to flower. It is 
necessary to provide plenty of light, a uniform temperature and moisture lev- 
el, and high humidity. Loss of buds and blackening of the leaves and new 
growth results from a sharp change in temperature, insufficient light or hu- 
midity. 



35 




GRAPE IVY 

Cissus rhombifolia 



36 



GRAPE IVY 



Grape Ivy is a climber or trailer. The olive co- 
lored green leaves look a bit like those of holly 
without the stiffness or the sharp tips. The 
leaves form attractive groups of three and are 
accompanied by furry tendrils. 

TEMPERATURE 

The plant is fairly tolerant of a wide temperature 
range. Increase the amount of humidity as the 
temperature goes up. 

LIGHT#SUN 

Grape Ivy will do all right in low light and is often 
used in low light areas. But it flourishes with 
bright light or filtered sun light. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Soak the pot and soil thoroughly and then allow 
the soil to become dry to the touch before rewa- 
tering. Mist frequently and wash the foliage regu- 
larly to remove dust and restore the luster of the 
leaves. 

SOIL 

A potting soil that is rich in organic matter is the 
best. Be sure to add plenty of drainage material to 
the soil mixture. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Six inch cuttings will root slowly in water. 



37 



JADE PLANT 



The Jade Plant is a tough plant well suited to the hot dry conditions so 
prevalent in office and apartment buildings. The rounded leaves are in 
pairs on the branched tree-like stem. A plant that is six to eight years old 
will produce clusters of lacy looking star shaped flowers. 




JADE PLANT 

Crassula arborescens 



38 



TEMPERATURE 

Temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees are fine. Lower and 
higher temperatures will be tolerated. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The Jade Plant will require full sun light with shade at midday if 
possible. A west or south window would be good locations. If you 
put the plant outside in the summer place it in a lightly shaded 
spot. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

The soil should remain dry for several days between waterings. 
The fleshy leaves soak up the soil water and store it for future use. 
Too much water will cause stem and root rot and certain death. 

SOIL 

The Jade plant will do well in rich garden soil that has coarse 
sand or fine bits of broken pots added to it for drainage. Each 
year give the pot a top dressing of humus. A new pot will be nec- 
essary only after about three or four years. 

SPECIAL CARE 

The Jade Plant must be thoroughly pot bound to bloom. Once 
your plant aproaches the right age let the pot cram itself with 
roots and then produce its delicate flowers. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

A leaf or stem cutting placed in sandy, gritty soil will take root 
and form a new plant. 



39 




NORFOLK ISLAND PINE 

Araucaria excelsa 



40 



NORFOLK ISLAND PINE 



The delightful symmetry of this evergreen 
makes it a desirable house plant. The branches 
grow in teirs of six; each teir representing a 
year's growth. The bright green needles are soft 
and pleasant to touch. 

TEMPERATURE 

The ideal temperature is between 50 and 60 de- 
grees. High temperatures are tolerated when 
sufficient humidity is available. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The filtered sun of an east or west window is best. 
Yellowing of the needles might mean too much 
sun. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Provide the plant with a well drained soil and pot. 
Water thoroughly and allow the soil surface to 
become dry before rewatering. Daily misting is 
necessary for the warmer temperatures of most 
houses and offices. A pebble tray will help to add 
more moisture to the air around the plant. 

SOIL 

Garden loam mixed with equal parts of sand and 
peat moss makes a suitable potting mixture. Re- 
pot the Norfolk Island Pine only when it has be- 
come pot bound (the pot is crammed with roots). 
This would be about every two or three years. 



41 




PARLOR PALM 

Chamaedora elegans 



42 



PARLOR PALM 



The Palm trees are not the easiest plants to grow. However, 
once you have discovered their basic needs they are a delight- 
ful addition to your indoor garden. The palm pictured grows to 
about four feet tall. It is most attractive when two or three plants 
are grouped together in a pot. The long feathery fronds grow 
out of a single stem. Other varieties to try are C. seifrizii, C. 
erumpens, and C. costarincana. 

TEMPERATURE 

The best growing temperatures for palms range between 60 and 
75 degrees. 

LIGHT#SUN 

Palms are good plants for locations without much light. They do 
not like direct sun light. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

During the active growing season, between March and October, 
the palm needs moist soil but it will not tolerate soggy soil. In the 
winter months, allow the soil to dry on the surface before rewater- 
ing. If the foliage shows signs of browning and drying on the tips 
it needs more humidity. Misting regularly is recommended to 
keep the foliage healthy. 

SOIL 

The Palm needs well drained soil of equal parts rich garden loam, 
peat moss and sand. It will need repotting only every two or three 
years. It perfers being a bit pot bound. 



43 




COMMON PHILODENDRON 

Philodendron oxycardium 



44 



PHILODENDRON 



By nature, the Philodendron is a climbing plant, 
but it also trails. It looks best on a bracket beside 
the window frame, and for good effect must be 
kept strongly pinched back so that the plant is 
full of bushy young growth and does not deterio- 
rate into two or three string-like stems. 

TEMPERATURE 

Normal house or office temperatures are fine. 
LIGHT#SUN 

The Philodendron is quite hardy and robust and 
will grown almost anywhere. However, it will fare 
better in a well-lighted area. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

The plant should be kept evenly moist and never 
allowed to dry out. Be certain water does not re- 
main in the saucer after watering. The foliage 
should be misted daily and the leaves cleaned of 
accumulated dust. 

SOIL 

Potting soil mixed with perlite, vermiculite, or 
sand and peat moss is recommended. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Tip cuttings can be easily rooted in water and then 
potted in good potting soil. 



45 



WINDOWLEAF PHILODRON 

Philodendron pertusum "Monstera deliciosa" 




46 



WINDOWLEAF PHILODENDRON 



This Philodendron has large heart shaped leaves that are 
slashed irregularly. It is an enthusiastic climber and needs a 
piece of bark or totem for support. The aerial roots can be in- 
serted in the soil or encouraged to attach to the totem. Keep the 
growing tips pinched back so that the plant doesn't get leggy. 

TEMPERATURE 

The Windowleaf prefers temperatures between 65 and 70 de- 
grees. 

LIGHT#SUN 

Bright light is best for this plant. However, avoid putting the plant 
in a location where the plant would get direct sun. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Soak the plant thoroughly and allow the soil surface to remain dry 
for a day or two before rewatering. Mist the foliage daily and wash 
the leaves weekly to remove dust. 

SOIL 

A soil mixture of equal parts garden loam, peat moss, and sand is 
fine. 

SPECIAL CARE 

There does not seem to be an explanation for why some leaves 
split and why some do not. Splitting seems to occur erratically. 



47 




PURPLE PASSION PLANT - VELVET PLANT 

Gynura aurantica 



48 



PURPLE PASSION PLANT 
- VELVET PLANT 



The strikingly rich royal purple coloring and 
velvety texture of the foliage and stems attract 
many growers. The green leaves and stems are 
covered with tiny purple hairs. The straggly 
growth habit is best kept in check by frequent 
prunning. 

TEMPERATURE 

The Purple Passion plant likes temperatures in the 
65 to 70 degree range. 

LIGHT#SUN 

Direct or partial sun will promote the color. 
WATER#HUMIDITY 

It is important that the velvet plant not dry out. 
Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. A humid 
atmosphere is important to keep the brilliant col- 
or. Mist the foliage frequently and place the pot in 
a tray of moistened pebbles to raise the humidity. 

SOIL 

Use Potting soil of equal parts garden loam, peat 
moss and sand. This plant will also grow in water. 

SPECIAL CARE 

Regularly pinching back the stems will force the 
plant to branch. This plant has a tendency to get 
leggy. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Set six inch stem cuttings in water. It is best to 
start new cuttings every six months in order to 
have an attractively shaped plant. 



49 




RUBBER TREE PLANT 

Ficus elastica decora 



50 



RUBBER TREE PLANT 



This house plant with dark green glossy leaves 
can grow to be four feet high with a little care 
and not too much water. 

TEMPERATURE 

Due to its hardy nature, the plant does well in any 
normal household temperature. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The plant will do well in almost any light, but a 
well-lighted area is best for the rich green foliage 
characteristic of the Rubber Tree Plant. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Water only when the soil is completely dry all 
through the pot. You should set the entire pot in a 
bucket when watering, so that moisture can pene- 
trate the deepest roots. Clean the leaves every two 
weeks or so with a damp cloth. Do not artificially 
shine the leaves as this clogs the plant's pores 
and does not allow it to breathe! 

SOIL 

Soil should be a well drained mixture of equal 
parts of sand, peat moss and garden loam. If pot is 
plastic or rubber be sure to provide plenty of 
drainage material in the bottom of the pot. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

This is usually done by professionals, however, 
you can try the air-layering process by following 
the details outlined in a gardening encyclopedia. 



51 




SCHEFFLERA - UMBRELLA TREE 

Schefflera venulosa 



52 



SCHEFFLERA - UMBRELLA TREE 



If you are looking for a tree for your indoor garden, a Schefflera 
is a good choice. It has handsome deep green leaves that ra- 
diate out from a long slender stalk rather like the ribs of an um- 
brella. 

TEMPERATURE 

The Umbrella Tree does well in a room where the temperature 
ranges from 55 to 75 degrees. 

LIGHT#SUN 

The Schefflera does not like direct sun light. It grows best in good 
light from a shaded window. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

When watering your Schefflera, soak the pot thoroughly and then 
allow the soil to dry before rewatering. The plant likes a humid 
atmosphere and responds well to daily misting with warm water. 
This is essential if the plant is in a room with forced hot air heat. 
This plant needs a pebble tray. 

SOIL 

The soil mixture for the Umbrella Tree should be equal parts of 
peat moss, garden soil and sand. The pot should have a layer of 
gravel or bits of broken pots underneath the soil to insure good 
drainage. 

SPECIAL CARE 

Weekly washing of the foliage will keep dust from building up and 
suffocating the plant. Poor drainage or too much water will cause 
the leaves to drop. 



53 



SNAKE PLANT 

Sansevieria trifasciata 




54 



SNAKE PLANT 



Seen in many homes and offices, this spikey, banded plant will 
take almost any abuse. 

TEMPERATURE 

Normal household temperatures are best, but do not allow the 
plant to become suddenly chilled! 

LIGHT#SUN 

The Snake Plant is a good low light plant but needs sun in order 
to bloom. 

WATER 

The plant likes the dyness of the home and should never be over- 
watered. The leaves should be cleaned with clear water every two 
weeks. 

SOIL 

Garden loam, peat moss and sand mixed together provides the 
best soil for the Snake Plant. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

There are three common varieties of the Snake Plant and they are 
distinguished by their coloring and shape. In order to maintain 
these distinctions, it is necessary that the cultivation of each vari- 
ety remain distinct. 

*Zeylonica: distinguished by bands that vary from light green 
to white. Cut the leaves into two or three sections and root them 
in sandy soil. 

*Laurenti: recognizable by its yellow bands. You shoulddivide 
the leaves of the plant and repot. It is possible to cut the leaves 
into sections and plant, but the yellow coloration would not be 
maintained. 

*Hahni: relatively small and grow in circular clusters. 
Propagation is by division of the "creeping" root stock. 



55 



SPIDER PLANT 

Chlorophytum elatum vittatum 




SPIDER PLANT 



With its green and white foliage, the Spider Plant 
makes one of the best hanging plants. The 
graceful trailing runners have plantlets and 
white star shaped flowers. There are all green 
varieties but the more commonly seen one has a 
green leaf striped with white. 

TEMPERATURE 

The plant lives best in a warm location. 

LIGHT#SUN 

This lovely plant does very well hanging in indirect 
sun or a moderately lighted area. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Spider Plant should be allowed to dry out before 
rewatering. Drying leaf tips usually indicates lack 
of humidity. To tidy up the plant just snip these off. 

SOIL 

The plant grows contentedly in a rich soil com- 
posed of garden loam, sand and peat moss. 

HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

New plantlets will appear on the ends of runners 
(long slender trailing stems) sent out from the 
parent. When the plantlets have six or seven 
leaves they can be cut from the parent and potted 
separately or rooted in water. It is easier to pin 
down a plantlet in a different pot and sever the 
runner when new growth appears. 



57 



WANDERING JEW 

Zebrina pendula 




58 



WANDERING JEW 



This is a particularly attractive hanging plant. It is hardy and 
easy to grow with only one special requirement, which is regu- 
lar pinching to keep it full and bushy. There are several plants 
called Wandering Jew, distinguished from each other by their 
different colorings and markings. The illustration is a Zebrma 
pendula. The leaf, is a pointed oval with a deep purple under- 
side and the upperside is dark green striped with pale silvery- 
green. Tradescantia fluminensis has small oval green leaves 
marked with white, silver and white, or yellow. 

TEMPERATURE 

These plants prefer warm temperatures. 
LIGHT#SUN 

Bright indirect sun light keeps the foliage brilliant. Avoid direct 
sun light as they are susceptible to sun burn. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

Water generously keeping the soil moist at all times. During the 
winter months it will not need quite as much water. 

SOIL 

This plant grows in a well drained potting soil, or water. 
HOW TO START NEW PLANTS 

Root four inch cuttings in moist soil or water. 



59 




ZEBRA PLANT 

Aphelandra squarrosa 



60 



ZEBRA PLANT 



The Zebra Plant is one of the showiest house 
plants one can grow. It's spike of waxy yellow 
flowers and deep shiny green leaves veined in 
white makes it a striking specimen. 

TEMPERATURE 

The Zebra Plant needs warm tempertures free 
from drafts. 

LIGHT#SUN 

This plant wants bright light but not direct sun 
light. 

WATER#HUMIDITY 

It is important never to allow the soil to dry out. 
Set the pot in a pebble tray and mist the foliage 
daily. 

SOIL 

The Zebra Plant likes loose soil consisting of 
one part garden loam, one part sand or per- 
lite and two parts peat moss. 

TROUBLES 

Crisp brown edges on the leaves are proba- 
bly due to dry air or dry soil. Regular pinch- 
ing keeps the Zebra Plant from becoming 
leggy- 



61 



NOTES . . . 



The Green Scene. 
Phone 282-7080 



62 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1975 O- 568-899 



C'emson Univers 




3 1604 012 754 273